The Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program was recently awarded to San Diego State University from the National Institutes of Health. Students who are selected as trainees can receive three-quarter tuition and a monthly stipend of $913.00. This program is designed to:
1) Increase the number of well-prepared underrepresented ethnic students who can successfully gain acceptance into graduate programs leading to the Ph.D. degree in a biomedical science (biology, chemistry, psychology, epidemiology), and
2) Help develop a strong research curriculum with opportunities that will prepare students for careers in biomedical research.
The Maximizing Access to Research Careers Program sponsored by the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences was established in 1975 to help develop the talent and to increase the number Ph.D. degrees awarded among certain ethnic groups that have long been underrepresented in the biomedical sciences. Groups that are presently underrepresented in the biomedical sciences include African-Americans, Hispanics, Latinos, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders. By contrast, the demand throughout the nation for Ph.D.’s in the biomedical sciences from among these underrepresented ethnic groups is unprecedented.
The MARC Program will award 6-12 MARC traineeships per year at San Diego State University. The target ethnic groups (mandated by the National Institutes of Health) for this program are African-Americans, Hispanics, Latinos, Native Americans or Pacific Islanders. Students will be selected from majors that would allow them to successfully compete in Ph.D. programs in biomedical science or health related research (i.e. biology, psychology, chemistry, or health science). The MARC students who start the program as juniors may receive up to two years of funding and research experience under the program. Applications for the program are typically available in the spring and awards are made by June 1st of each year. Trainees for the program will be selected based of the following criteria:
1) Full time academic standing at SDSU.
2) Upper division standing (i.e. 60 or more completed units).
3) Demonstrated potential and interest in pursuing a graduate degree (Ph.D.) in the biomedical sciences, biology, chemistry, psychology, epidemiology or other health related research area.
4) A science and overall GPA of 3.0 or better.
5) Letters of recommendation.
6) Consent to complete the prescribed course of study and activities related to the MARC program.
A subset of all applicants will be invited to a personal interview with MARC steering committee faculty and students.
The program will consist of the following components:
Designated course sequences. Students will be required to follow a sequence of course leading to the bachelor’s degree in their majors as well as to satisfy specific MARC requirements such as statistics, personal computer programming, GRE Workshop, seminars, research and regular MARC student meetings.
Research. Each trainee is required to have a research experience. The essential feature of this component is that students may rotate through various laboratories similar to the graduate student rotations on campus. In some cases, students may decide to stay in the same research lab for their entire time as a MARC student. A maximum of three to four laboratory exposures will be encouraged: two short term (i.e. one quarter or summer) and/or one long term exposure (up to two years).The research lab schedule and number of hours required in the lab will be agreed to in consultation with the chosen faculty mentor; however, the MARC program encourages each student to spend at least 15 hours per week working in the lab setting. The exact number of laboratory exposures will be determined by the student’s interests and in consultation with the MARC steering committee. MARC faculty will serve as advisors and mentors for students. Students will be strongly encouraged to participate in a summer research experience at another institution, such as the National Institutes of Health or another university in the United States. Travel funds ad some living expenses are typically available for the summer research experience
Seminars – seminars have been developed that are appropriate to the multidisciplinary nature of the MARC Program. Students will also be encouraged to attend regular departmental colloquia.
Scientific Meetings – all trainees will be required to attend at least one scientific meeting consistent with their chosen major or will attend the MARC scholars conference (MARC funds will pay for the student’s travel and accommodations).
Professional Development. All trainees will be required to write theses summarizing their major research projects. In cases where the trainee prepares a manuscript accepted for publication or for presentation at a conference, the manuscript will be accepted in lieu of the thesis. Trainees will be required to make a scientific presentation to a local or national audience consisting of students and faculty.
Trainees will be assisted in the selection of a faculty research mentor. Each semester, trainees are given a book allowance and research supply money. In addition, some travel money will be available for each trainee to attend scientific conferences.
Download an application here.
If you would like further information, please contact:
Thelma C. Chavez
Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC)
SDSU College of Sciences-GMCS 322B
Center for the Advancement of Students and Academia
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-1016